Pubdate: Sat, 05 Mar 2005
Source: Observer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005, OSPREY Media Group Inc.
Author: Neil Bowen
Bookmark: (Grow Operations)
Bookmark: (Rochfort Bridge)


Schiemann One Of Four Killed In Alberta

A man raised in Corunna was among the four RCMP officers killed Thursday at 
a marijuana grow operation in rural Alberta.

Peter Christopher Schiemann, 25, was the son of Lutheran Pastor Don 
Schiemann who served in Sarnia-Lambton until his departure about 10 years ago.

He was the pastor at the now disbanded Ascension Lutheran Church in Corunna.

"He (Peter) really liked his job," said Pastor Roger Ellis of Redeemer 
Lutheran Church who knew the elder Schiemann quite well.

Schiemann is currently head of the Alberta-B.C. District of the Lutheran 
Church based in Edmonton. On Thursday he was in Winnipeg for a meeting of 
district presidents when he was called out of the meeting due to an 
unspecified problem with his son.

It wasn't until later in the day, he learned his son had been killed, said 
Paster Al Maleske of Kitchener, president of the eastern district.

"It turned the whole meeting upside down," said Maleske who knew the 
Schiemann family during their stay in Corunna that went back to 1980.

The family came from Ontario and Peter's grandparents still live in the 

Schiemann would always speak proudly of his son's RCMP career that was just 
a few years old, he said.

Schiemann was at home with his family on Friday and was also reaching out 
to the families of the other slain officers who were Anthony Fitzgerald 
Orion Gordon, Lionide Nicholas Johnston and Broack Warren Myrol.

Pastor Paul Schallhorn of Christ Lutheran Church in Sarnia said the 
shooting would be a tragic blow to his fellow pastor who is a great family 
man. His son was the oldest of three children.

Ellis, who also serves as the chaplain for the Sarnia Police Services, said 
the tragedy is shared by everyone. Society commissions officers to stand on 
the front-line where the shared values of justice are upheld, he said.

"It's a stab at what we hold sacred, the ability to live in peace," he said.

The shootings were a sad reminder of the danger of police work.

"It sharpens the point of the danger they face every day. I saw an officer 
today standing at a doorway and I hoped he was being careful. You never 
know what's on the other side of the door," he said.

The danger associated with marijuana grow operations is well known by 
Sarnia officers, including Chief Bill O'Brien.

Ottawa needs to look at the deaths as the federal government ponders 
changes to marijuana laws, according to O'Brien.

The government's approach treats marijuana offences as a victimless crime 
but "look what happened," he said, describing the murders as "horrific."

These operations pose a danger to the community and officers, he said.

"I don't know all the facts but it seems the officers were caught by 
surprise . . . I think I can speak for all (Sarnia) officers. We are 
absolutely shocked and enraged," he said.

President of the Sarnia Police Association, Sgt. Andrew Beni ,said the the 
tragedy, that has all officers thinking of their colleagues family, friends 
and coworkers, highlights the problems presented by grow operations.

"It's unbelievable," he said about in increase in the number of large-scale 
operations being uncovered by police.

Like some discovered in Sarnia, they can net criminals millions of dollars.

"There's such a huge amount of money, they will resort to violence to 
protect their investment . . . They're willing to kill," he said.

The government should drop the efforts to decriminalize marijuana and focus 
on cracking down on the grow operations, he said.

That philosophy is making Canada attractive to criminals from other 
countries, like the U.S. and Mexico, where punishments are harsher, said Beni.

But most importantly, Beni said, the hearts of Sarnia officers go out to 
families of the four officers.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom